Almost every dog parent has experienced it. They walk in the door after being out of the house for an extended amount of time and there it is: The chewed up shoe. The puddle of pee. The torn up bag of trash you really should have taken out before work. Different messes, but they all say the same thing.
On behalf of all dogs, I apologize for the mess, but our communication skills are very rudimentary. With no opposable thumbs and an illiteracy rate of nearly 100 percent, it’s difficult to convey our message in any other way. Allow me to translate:
I’m bored and/or anxious.
Our job as your dog is to be your constant companion, so we’re always happiest when you are home with us. However, if you need to leave the house for stretches of time, most of us can get used to that if you help us to adjust. Here are some things you can do to make sure we’re comfortable while you’re away.
Consistent schedule. If you can keep us on a regular schedule, we can kind of have an idea of when you’ll be home. For instance, most mornings after our walk and breakfast, my mom leaves me at home for a while. I take a nap on my bed in the kitchen because it’s in the sun. Soon the sunlight isn’t shining on me anymore (which I don’t understand) and usually not long after that happens, my mom comes home. There are times I have to wait longer, but it’s always nice to have an idea of when she’ll be back.
Lot of Exercise. Time alone passes by quickly for us when we’re asleep. And in order to sleep we need to be tired. We haven’t figured out how to use the treadmill on our own, even though it looks so easy on The Dog Whisperer. And there’s only one yoga pose that we’ve mastered. (Can you guess which one?) So we really need your help with getting us good and tired before you leave the house. I love a good romp with my friends. Or playing Chuck-It in the yard. Or even a brisk on-leash walk.
Long lasting treats. If you want to give us something to do, we prefer something that will keep us busy for a while. For instance a bone marrow filled with yumminess or my favorite is a kong filled with hard to reach cookies. I really like a challenge!
ENOUGH WITH THE GUILT ALREADY!!!
This is probably the most important thing for us. Don’t leave the house worried or feeling guilty. When you do, then we’re left feeling worried and guilty, as well as confused. I mean, if you feel so bad about leaving, just stay home, gosh darn it! When it’s time to go, walk out the door in a calm state of mind, so we can start our time alone in a calm state of mind.
Most of us can tolerate some amount of alone time, but we need your help to get us there. What’s that commercial I always hear on tv? “We can you do it. You can help.”… something like that.